Housing

Louis Theroux leads calls to help 131,000 children waking up homeless on Christmas Day

The broadcaster has backed Shelter’s plea to lift children out of homelessness as a 119 families are being made homeless every day this Christmas

Louis Theroux on homelessness

Louis Theroux has backed Shelter's plea to help kids waking up homeless at Christmas. Image: Shelter

Louis Theroux has backed Shelter’s call for children to be lifted out of homelessness as a record 131,000 kids face waking up on Christmas Day without a stable home.

The broadcaster joined the homelessness charity outside London’s King’s Cross Station on Tuesday (28 November) as they set up a ‘Dear Santa’ installation featuring a red post-box stuffed with children’s letters to Santa.

A giant letter from a child experiencing homelessness sat alongside the post-box to draw attention to how children are being impacted by the housing emergency.

Change a Big Issue vendor’s life this Christmas by purchasing a Winter Support Kit. You’ll receive four copies of the magazine and create a brighter future for our vendors through Christmas and beyond.

Shelter said one in 90 children will wake up homeless with their families in cramped B&Bs, badly converted offices and cold shipping containers on Christmas Day.

New analysis from the charity has found 119 families are being made homeless every single day.

Theroux said: “Every child needs a safe home where they can experience the magic of Christmas.

“Far too many children are spending this winter facing the harsh realities of homelessness in England. Your support can help provide support for families to find and keep a home this winter.” 

homelessness
The ‘Dear Santa’ installation outside London’s King’s Cross station featured a red post box stuffed with children’s letters to Santa alongside a giant letter laying out the plight homeless children are facing this Christmas. Image: Shelter

Thousands of families face being homeless at Christmas, according to Shelter, who echoed The Salvation Army’s warning that councils are struggling to cope with the demand on homelessness services.

The cost of living crisis and efforts to clear the asylum claim backlog are just two of the pressures that are seeing more people asking local authorities for support to avoid homelessness.

There are a record 104,000 households living in temporary accommodation in England and the annual £1.74bn bill is leaving some councils warning the issue will plunge them into financial difficulties.

Polly Neate, chief executive, Shelter said: “A truly dire lack of affordable homes means the housing emergency is spiralling. Over a hundred families are facing homelessness every day. These huge numbers are simply impossible to ignore, the holiday season is going to be far from festive for thousands of families this year.

“Our ‘Dear Santa’ installation brings to life just how urgent the housing emergency really is, showing how many children will spend this winter without anywhere to call home. Instead, they will be waking up homeless on Christmas morning in grim office conversions, cramped hostel rooms, and dingy B&Bs.”

As well as the backing of Theroux, BBC Radio 1 presenter Katie Thistleton, actress Mandip Gill and barrister and TV presenter Rob Rinder also backed Shelter’s campaign.

Gill said: “Collectively, we must do more to bring attention to those families and children who are suffering the realities of homelessness this winter.”

For more information on Shelter’s Winter Appeal, head here.

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

Support your local Big Issue vendor

If you can’t get to your local vendor every week, subscribing directly to them online is the best way to support your vendor. Your chosen vendor will receive 50% of the profit from each copy and the rest is invested back into our work to create opportunities for people affected by poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
How can I help homeless people during a UK heatwave?
uk heatwave
Homelessness

How can I help homeless people during a UK heatwave?

Our right to housing is dependent on our immigration status – that's the definition of racism
Homelessness

Our right to housing is dependent on our immigration status – that's the definition of racism

Academics put trackers on homeless people – what they learned could be a 'game-changer'
A homeless person is interviewed on the streets of Sutton
Rough sleeping

Academics put trackers on homeless people – what they learned could be a 'game-changer'

Activist Kwajo Tweneboa: 'We're facing the biggest housing crisis since World War II'
Housing

Activist Kwajo Tweneboa: 'We're facing the biggest housing crisis since World War II'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know

Support our vendors with a subscription

For each subscription to the magazine, we’ll provide a vendor with a reusable water bottle, making it easier for them to access cold water on hot days.